Actor James Thomson plays contrasting roles in a dark comedy double bill at the cornerHOUSE from tomorrow (Thursday) for three nights, writes Wendy Tobitt. In Mastering Business by Dermot Murphy, James plays Bob, a small-time drugs dealer. The play explores Bob’s rollercoaster relationship between him and fellow dealer Al (Shonesé Mercier). Who is really in charge
Actor James Thomson plays contrasting roles in a dark comedy double bill at the cornerHOUSE from tomorrow (Thursday) for three nights, writes Wendy Tobitt.
In Mastering Business by Dermot Murphy, James plays Bob, a small-time drugs dealer. The play explores Bob’s rollercoaster relationship between him and fellow dealer Al (Shonesé Mercier). Who is really in charge and who owes what to whom?
“I like playing complex characters like Bob; they’re challenging and often have a physicality,” says James. “The way the hierarchy changes in this play is intriguing.”
In Susannah Finzi’s Reunited it is his relationship with erstwhile college rugby teammate Luke (Ryan Anthony-Jones) which comes under the spotlight in Julie’s (Rosalind Lonsdale) pub when the men meet up again for the first time in many years.
“Men are not always as great as they could be about keeping in touch over the years,” says James. “It’s an interesting dynamic between Ed and Luke when they meet up in the pub.
“I find different aspects of each character that I can relate to, even if they are not remotely like me.”
James draws on his experiences as a musician in international orchestras and his career travelling the world with the Army to bring his characters to life.
“Being a 31-year-old musician among all those 18-year-old recruits on the basic Army training course gave me a whole new view of life. I learnt a lot and I bring that to my acting.
“There are so many transferable skills that you learn in the Army – especially patience. You spend so much time practising and rehearsing the music and the whole choreographed performance.’”
Patience is what actors need on film sets and it is a quality which has stood him in good stead having been in every series of the historical TV drama The Crown as a supporting artist.
“I’m a good ‘middle-class man’ and fit in with the military background,” he laughs.
James is looking forward to returning to the arts centre in Douglas Road where he has previously performed (The Bottom Line, 2019).
“It’s such a friendly, intimate theatre – like a Festival Fringe venue – just perfect for these plays.
“I enjoy the immediacy of the instant performance on stage: I’ve really missed it in the last year.
“Rehearsing with people I’ve worked with before is a great feeling, and it will be so good to see an audience again!”
Tickets for Mastering Business and Reunited at the cornerHOUSE arts centre in Douglas Road Surbiton from July 1-3 at 7.30pm cost £10 from www.ticketsource.co.uk/leantheatre Numbers are limited because of social distancing so it is advisable to book. Tickets are refundable if the performance is cancelled due to Covid restrictions.